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Russia voted out of UN Human Rights Council

Russia, facing allegations of war crimes in relation to its policies in Syria, lost its seat on the UN Human Rights Council as the UN General Assembly
●    The 193-member General Assembly yesterday elected 14 nations by secret ballot to serve on the Human Rights Council.
●    The United Nations body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. 
●    Brazil, China, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Kingdom and the United States were elected for three-year terms beginning January 1, 2017. 
●    India is a member of the 47-member human rights body and its term will expire in 2017.
●    Russia was seeking re-election to the human rights body, competing with Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria. 

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India abstains from voting on nuclear weapons ban at UN

India abstained a resolution by a UN General Assembly committee to launch negotiations on a new treaty banning nuclear weapons. 
●    Indian officials will present the explanation of vote (EoV) at the UN in the early hours of Saturday.
●    The resolution presented by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil was adopted by a vote of 123 votes. 
●    Four of the five UN Security Council nuclear powers — Britain, France, Russia and the United States — voted against the resolution while China abstained, as did Pakistan, besides India.
●    Opponents of the resolution argued that nuclear disarmament should be addressed within negotiations on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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World's First Fossilized Dinisaur Brain Found

A bit of lumpy brown rock no bigger than an orange could be the world's first fossilized dinosaur brain.
●    The 133-million-year-old specimen came from the skull of an Iguanodon, a genus of large, iconic herbivores that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. 
●    Scientists say the innocuous rock contains wrinkles, tubes and folds that are actually fossilized forms of the meninges, blood vessels and gray matter.
●    It's incredibly rare to find preserved soft tissue from ancient creatures - flesh and blood are the first things to decay after an animal dies - and no scientist has ever uncovered a fossil brain from a dinosaur. 
●    The rock was uncovered by fossil hunter Jamie Hiscocks, who caught it in the glow of his flashlight one night while prowling a British beach after a storm. 

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UN Votes to launch talks on nuclear weapons ban

A UN General Assembly committee voted to launch negotiations on a new treaty banning nuclear weapons despite fierce opposition from the world's nuclear powers.
●    A resolution presented by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil was adopted by a vote of 123 to 38.
●    Four of the five UN Security Council nuclear powers -- Britain, France, Russia and the United States -- voted against the resolution while China abstained, as did India and Pakistan.
●    Japan, which has long campaigned against the use of nuclear weapons, voted against it, as did South Korea, which is facing a nuclear threat from North Korea.
●    The measure is expected to go to the full General Assembly for a vote in late November or early December.

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16th Indo-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation Meeting held

The 16th meeting of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was held on 26-October-2016. 
The Indian side was headed by the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar while the Russian delegation was led by his counterpart General Sergey Shoigu.
●    This was the 16th such meeting between the defence ministers of the two countries.
●    The meeting was held in the backdrop of the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin where the two agreed on defence deals – supply of S-400 Air defence systems, Project 1135.6 frigates and joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India.
●    Prime Minister Modi and President Putin held very substantive discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues. 
●    India and Russia concluded many important agreements including the IGA on the supply of S-400 air defence systems and the IGA on Project 1135.6 frigates.
 

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Revised DTAA with South Korea notified

India and South Korea on 26 October 2016 signed a revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
●    The Provisions of the new DTAA will have effect in India in respect of income derived in fiscal years beginning on or after 1 April 2017.
●    The earlier Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between India and Korea was signed on 19 July 1985 and was notified on 26 September 1986.
●    It provides for source based taxation of capital gains arising from alienation of shares comprising more than 5 percent of share capital.
●    In order to promote cross border flow of investments and technology, the revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates from 15 percent to 10 percent on fees for technical services and from 15 percent to 10 percent on interest income.
●    It expands the scope of dependent agent Permanent Establishment provisions in line with India’s policy of source based taxation.
 

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'Cavities’ discovered in Egypt's Great Pyramids

Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza could contain two previously unknown "cavities", scientists using radiography to scan the millennia-old monument said on Saturday
●    The antiquities ministry cautiously announced finding "two anomalies" in the pyramid built 4,500 years ago under King Khufu, with further tests to determine their function, nature and size.
●    At 146 metres (480 feet) tall, Khufu pyramid, named after the son of pharaoh Snefru, is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
●    It has three known chambers, and like other pyramids in Egypt was intended as a pharaoh's tomb.
●    Another "cavity" was discovered on the pyramid's northeast flank, said the researchers who are using radiography and 3D reconstruction for their study.


 

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Samsung Halts S7 Sale

Samsung has withdrawn all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from sale globally after a spate of fires involving “safe” replacements.
●    Samsung said consumers with original Note 7 devices or replacements they obtained after the recall should turn off the power and seek a refund or exchange them for different phones.
●    South Korean authorities said they had found a new product defect in the Note 7 – Samsung’s most popular smartphone – and also asked consumers to power them down or to exchange them. 
●    The statement did not identify the defect.
●    The company’s shares dropped 7.5% on Tuesday, the biggest daily percentage decline since 2008, wiping more than $18bn off its value.
●    The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said it is continuing to investigate at least five incidents of fire or overheating reported since a formal recall was announced on 15 September.

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State of Emergency Declared in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency following months of often violent anti-government protests, especially in the restive Oromia region.
●    Protests reignited this week in the Oromia region - the main focus of a recent wave of demonstrations - after dozens of people were killed in a stampede on October 2, which was sparked by police firing tear gas and warning shots at a huge crowd of protesters attending a religious festival.
●    The official death toll given by the government was 55, though opposition activists and rights groups said they believe more than 100 people died as they fled security forces, falling into ditches that dotted the area.
●    The anti-government demonstrations started in November among the Oromo, Ethiopia's biggest ethnic group, and later spread to the Amhara, the second most populous group.
●    Though they initially began over land rights, they later broadened into calls for more political, economic and cultural rights.

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Colombian Reject Deal to end 52 year FARC rebel war

Colombian voters in a referendum rejected the peace deal with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels. 
●    With votes more than 99 per cent of polling stations counted, 50.2 per cent opposed the accord while 49.8 per cent supported it - a difference of less than 63000 votes out of 13 million ballots.
●    The deal was earlier signed by President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez in fourth week of September 2016 after nearly four years of negotiations. 
●    But, it needed to be ratified by Colombians in order to come into force.
●    FARC rebels had agreed to lay down their weapons after 52 years of conflict in order to join the political process. 
●    President Santos had said that there is no plan B for ending the war.
●    The result is being seen as a major setback to President Santos, who since his election in 2010, had pledged to end a conflict which has killed over 2 lakh 50000 people and displaced about eight million.


 

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